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Messages - Wayward Son

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1351
General Comments / Re: Obama blamed for Trump
« on: March 11, 2016, 11:10:12 AM »
Lol.  I heard that earlier and nothing flattering comes to mind.  It wouldn't be the first time though he's made news by denying something no one heard in the first place.

Does that mean that no one reads the New York Times? :)

1352
General Comments / Re: Hillary: Too risky a candidate (cont'd)
« on: March 10, 2016, 01:33:40 PM »
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Wayward, I've re-read our thread on the old board more than once.  You should take a trip back down memory lane, cause what you said was never true, at least for what we've been discussing for months.

The issue that is being played up, is the call/no call they made on the rescue, which was always just a judgment call.  There's never been any good reason for it to be as unclear as it is.  Can you tell me what President Obama was doing at the time with confidence?

The real issue has always been the corrupt cover-up.  The needless lies and frame job.  It's just a lie to even try to claim at this point that it was a 'failure to say soon enough that a tape wasn't the cause.'  It was an intentional and deliberate lie from the start to even sell the tape theory.  Like I said, go back and refresh yourself on your own positions on that thread if nothing else.

The subject at hand (the one I made the comment on, to which you are responding) is the Benghazi Congressional Committee.

While you state the issue is the call/no call they made on the rescue, I do not find that to be an issue with the committee anymore.  I do not recall any recent questions on available resources, nor accusations that they were held back.  From what I understand, those questions have been asked and answered during the numerous hearings, and are now no longer an issue.

The only issue that I recall the committee has still been investigating (before the e-mails came up) was the announcement of that the tapes were the cause of the attack.  But while your opinion is that it was an intentional and deliberate lie from the start, my opinion is that it was, at worst, a convenient excuse that the Administration adopted because it was the initial cause that the CIA came up with for the attack, one that was later revised and corrected by all involved.  There is documentation for my opinion.  And, ultimately, it had no effect on the actual actions of the Administration or by anyone else that I know of.

While you have the right to your opinion that there was some "corrupt cover-up," it is only an opinion, and hardly fact.  And, in my opinion, it is a completely bogus one.  But the fact that the Benghazi Committee has not uncovered any facts to show that military forces were not properly deployed, which was the serious charge about the event, means to me that they were not serious about uncovering serious allegations from the start, and were far more interested in political scandal, i.e. "blowing smoke."

You may believe certain things about the Benghazi attack.  But we are talking about what the Committee believes.  And, AFAIK, they no longer believe that aid was not deployed in a timely manner.  And the issue about the tapes still comes down to "why didn't the Administration admit the cause wasn't the tapes sooner."  So the only thing I see is a political fishing expedition.  And so, any "conclusions" they come to without substantial evidence is just political smear.  Which I am sure is why they are waiting until just before the election to release their "conclusions."

1353
General Comments / Re: Hillary: Too risky a candidate (cont'd)
« on: March 09, 2016, 02:26:21 PM »
Sorry, Seriati, but it's just been blowing smoke from the beginning. :)

How else can you explain that the emphasis went from the Administration purposefully denying aid to an embassy under attack to the Administration not saying soon enough that is wasn't a tape that set off the attack?  ::)

When you go from a serious, if not murderous, dereliction of duty to a misunderstanding about the cause of an incident, that shows that it wasn't the initial charge that they were truly concerned with.  It was the smear.

So how can anyone trust the verdict of a group of Senators who are primarily looking for something to smear Hillary with, even if it turns out to have basis in fact? ;)

1354
General Comments / Re: Hillary: Too risky a candidate (cont'd)
« on: March 09, 2016, 01:40:48 PM »
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If the government really does intend to go through with a formal case against her it would destroy her campaign against Trump. No one current being tried for a crime would be electable. If this is the case I feel like it needs to be made clear ASAP so Clinton can decide whether to salvage this election for the Democrats by conceded the nomination to Sanders. And if they don't intend to do anything to her I think they should probably officially drop the matter and declare her innocent of any wrongdoing so the spectre of this issue can be banished.

I can't guess whether she or Sanders has a better shot against Trump in the general, but if she wins the candidacy and then subsequently has charges pressed against her, it will be too late to swap her out for Sanders, who by then would have lost his momentum after losing the candidacy. If current conditions persist it could be a recipe for a Trump presidency.

I think this was the plan for quite a while now (since the Benghazi-committee investigation is not scheduled to be completed until a month or so before the election), whether there is an actual case against her or not.  Of course, this was planned well before Trump appeared on the scene, so that might complicate matters. :)

Which also complicates the matter on how people will vote.  The Benghazi investigation has been a partisan fishing-expedition from the beginning.  Any complaint against Hillary from the committee will be tainted with that partisanship.  So the question is, will the voters give any weight to such a complaint, regardless of the merit?

That, of course, assumes that the Republicans can swallow the idea of the Trump Presidency--a prospect which could actually cause more damage to the Republican Party than allowing Hillary to win.  As FiveThirtyEight said:

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The lessons of history suggest, instead, that significant damage to party reputations is done by unsuccessful presidencies, not unsuccessful presidential candidates. Unsuccessful presidents like Herbert Hoover and Carter shaped their parties’ reputations for decades after (see, for example, attempts to compare Obama to Carter). But Trump’s approach and lack of real party roots probably make him more like an even worse president, Andrew Johnson, whose myopia and racism brought down more than just his party. Republicans stand a smaller chance of electoral loss if they nominate Trump than if he launches a third-party bid. But nominating Trump might be the outcome that should worry party leaders the most. Trump winning the nomination, and then winning the presidency — as unlikely as that may be — probably represents the greatest long-term risk to the Republican Party.

1355
General Comments / Re: Republican Leadership needs to Step Up
« on: March 08, 2016, 01:55:55 PM »
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What makes you think this is different from how things were 150 years ago? Both parties were starkly opposed to one another with no hope of a middle ground. What else is new.

And that division was resolved with a Civil War that killed more Americans than any other war in our history.  It may not be new, but it's worrisome.

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But it has come at a price, that being that it requires a complete victory.  You can't have a partial victory when the fate of the Nation hangs in the balance.  You either win or die, swim or sink, defeat the evil Democrats or be defeated.  And, so far, the evil Democrats haven't been defeated.  They are holding their own.
Sounds like a straw man to me. They disagree to the core with Democrats and so will obviously fight them tooth and nail. Do you think they should behave otherwise? This is party politics in a nutshell.

Although the song remains the same, it's the stridency that I find different.  Parties haven't tried to shut-down the government over their differences until recent history.  Compromise has been the order of the day.

So why do Republicans disagree to the core with Democrats now?  Why didn't they 40 years ago?  50 years ago?  Why are they calling for shutting-down the government rather than compromising and working with the opposition?  What has changed so radically, if not for the rhetoric of the Right?

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In fact, you were making an argument in the other thread that people see him as the savior from the GOP leadership, not from the evil Democrats.

I was?  ???  I don't remember that...

Whatever, why does the GOP need saving from the GOP leadership?  ;)  Isn't it because they have not be able to push through their agenda, and allowed Democrats to block it?  What other reason is there?

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This is the exact narrative that Washington and the media have been spinning for the last several years. Now you're going to try to pin it on Trump? Fear-mongering about ISIS, about Lybia, about Syria, about Putin - the 24 hour news cycle has been pushing these ideas relentlessly. If Trump knows how to capitalize on this public mindset then that basically means he knows how to campaign. But he certainly has nothing at all to do with people feeling this way. He is not making people scared, he's being successful at making them feel safer when he tells them how he'll take care of business.

This is what I am saying--that Trump is the result of the narrative, not the creator of it.

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Measures that might include ignoring the Supreme Court, ignoring Congress, ignoring those in the Military that what you want to do is illegal


Trump never said these things and you know it. But in terms of ignoring Congress, tell me, when was the last time the Congress was consulted about a military engagement? Or rephrased, when was the last time the U.S. officially declared war?

Didn't Trump say he would ignore certain rulings of the Supreme Court (or am I getting him mixed up with Cruz and the others)?

And, you're right, I can't think of a specific example of him specifically saying he would ignore Congress, although I think he would have to to implement some of his ideas.

But he has specifically said that, if the military said torture was illegal, he would just tell them to do it anyway, since he would be Commander-in-Chief and they have to do whatever he tells them to.  After all, everyone in the military swore allegiance to the President...  ;)

No, I don't think I'm that far off from what Trump has said.

1356
General Comments / Re: Republican Leadership needs to Step Up
« on: March 08, 2016, 01:34:08 PM »
" Through the rhetoric of the Right Wing Media (Limbaugh, Ingraham, Fox News, various politicians, etc.), they have been convinced that what liberals and Democrats have done is absolutely evil"

What has Limbaugh said that hysterical left wingers and some leftist preachers havent been saying about conservatives since the 1970s?  Are we pretending that no one on the left compared Bush to Hitler or claimed the military invente HIV to kill black people?

Seems to me that anyone seeing the division is one party's problem is part of the problem.

Although there are hysterical voices on both sides of the aisle, currently the ones on the Right have far more influence than the ones on the Left.

When someone who claims that the military invented AIDS to kill black people becomes the leading Democratic candidate, we'll talk.  Until then, recognize that this is currently a bigger problem for the Right than the Left.

1357
General Comments / Re: Republican Leadership needs to Step Up
« on: March 08, 2016, 11:05:31 AM »
It's not just that the people feel betrayed.  Through the rhetoric of the Right Wing Media (Limbaugh, Ingraham, Fox News, various politicians, etc.), they have been convinced that what liberals and Democrats have done is absolutely evil, and that voting for Republicans will stop and reverse this.  It is not a matter of compromise or improvement; it is a matter of defending what is good and righteous, with the fate of the Nation in the balance.

This message has been very successful for the Republicans for the past couple of decades.  It has energized its base and allowed them to achieve significant victories in getting candidates elected to Congress.

But it has come at a price, that being that it requires a complete victory.  You can't have a partial victory when the fate of the Nation hangs in the balance.  You either win or die, swim or sink, defeat the evil Democrats or be defeated.  And, so far, the evil Democrats haven't been defeated.  They are holding their own.

So what do you do when the stakes are so high?  Who do you turn to when you're losing the war?

A strong leader.  One who can take on the evil Democrats.  One who isn't afraid of them, can bully them into submission, can get the policies pushed through by trampling over the opposition.

Or as one Trump supporter said on NPR this morning, a guy who "isn't a pansy" like all those in Washington. :)

When you hear, day-in and day-out, how we are at war with those who are destroying our country, and we are losing that war, then desperate measures are called for.  Measures that might include ignoring the Supreme Court, ignoring Congress, ignoring those in the Military that what you want to do is illegal, ignoring reality if necessary (by saying that Mexico will build us a wall to keep their people out of our country  ::) ), and just getting the job done. 

Trump supporters aren't evil or stupid.  They've been convinced, through the relentless propaganda of the Right, that we are in desperate times and that things aren't changing their way.  So they are willing to take desperate measures, because the stakes are so high.  And the one who seems the strongest right now is Trump.

Thus we get a Republican front-runner who most of the Republicans can't stand.  A person who is a liar and a bully.   A person who promises the moon, but has no real plan or experience on how to get there.

But, really, how different is he from all the demagogues that have been preaching to the Right for years?

1358
General Comments / Re: Republican Leadership needs to Step Up
« on: March 07, 2016, 06:47:42 PM »
Perhaps this gives a better perspective.

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I was listening to a CPAC roundtable late last week (televised, I wasn't there) where the panelists, including The Weekly Standard's Fred Barnes, discussed the basic division in the GOP today: between people who feel the party establishment has betrayed them and those who do not...

The betrayal is that the GOP promised it would destroy Obama's presidency (end it in 2012, defang it before and after) and turn back the various things he's done to damage the country and 'transform' it. But let's remember that Republicans played a high stakes game of brinksmanship in 2011, threatening to default on the national debt if President Obama didn't comply with various demands, an event totally without precedent in more than two centuries of American history. There was the Cruz government shutdown in 2013 to attempt to force yet another showdown over Obamacare. There was the successful effort to kill immigration reform in 2013. There's the current refusal to even receive the President's nomination to fill a Supreme Court vacancy, at the beginning of the fourth year of his term - again, totally unprecedented in American history. (We had serial rejections in the mid-19th century, never a refusal even to consider a nomination.) And these are only some of the most high stakes examples...

You can say all sorts of things about these folks being crazy, or extremists or whatever else. But set aside all these evaluative or partisan interpretations and one thing is fairly clear in objective terms: a large portion of the GOP is not satisfied with what can realistically be achieved by conventional political means. One might even add here working with allies on the Supreme Court to come close to overturning Obamacare on what were extremely flimsy grounds. Yes, it's a bummer to take over the House and latter the Senate and still have Obamacare. But as long as you have a relatively popular President with a veto pen, that's life. You need to elect a president too.

As I noted at the end of last month, some of this is a product of "hate debt" and "nonsense debt" - building up wildly unrealistic expectations by over-promising and trading in an increasingly apocalyptic political rhetoric. But it's not all that. Something this powerful, as we've discussed, isn't just ginned up by political leaders. It runs much deeper. But again, the overreaching point is important: The narrative of 'betrayal' - at this volume and intensity - only makes sense if you are dealing with a chunk of the electorate with expectations that are deeply unrealistic in the context of conventional political action.

That is a volatile situation when you're talking about at least a quarter of the national electorate.

That gets you Trump. It also gets you Ted Cruz. And it may get you worse still.

1360
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Since private land grazing prices have also skyrocketed due to federal government's irrational and destructive Ethanol boondoggle, your argument follows the statist logic of a PRC Tibet handwashing.

According to Wikipedia, grazing fees on federal land went from $1.35/animal unit month in 2012 to $1.69 in 2015.  A 20% increase.  But considering the price hasn't changed substantially since the early 80's (see the chart in this article comparing federal vs. private fees), that is not a huge increase when you take inflation into account.

Also note from the chart that the average private fee has doubled during that time.

And while you may like to blame Ethanol for corn prices, how much corn did those ranchers use before?  I would think that they relied mainly on hay and alfalfa during the time their livestock would be "grazing."  So it probably has far more to do with the persistent drought in the West (which is causing a hay and alfalfa shortage) that is cutting into cattlemen's profits than Federal grazing fees.

Which also means that lowering the grazing fees will have little to no effect on saving family ranches.

So while you might characterize my questions as "PRC Tibet handwashing" (whatever that means), I think you should rather re-examine your assumptions about the situation.  Because they seem to be on shaky ground.

After all, Bundy's beef wasn't that the fees were too high.  He felt that he shouldn't have to pay them at all. :)

1361
[You're ignoring that their being born into poverty is the result of generations of discrimination and racism.
Except that's a false story.  The current "trend" of being born into poverty is the direct result of the expansion of social programs advocated by the left, which altered the trajectory of an entire people from upwards to downwards. 

Shouldn't the "party of science" base their policies on actual results rather than feel good beliefs?

Really?  In the past, people who were born poor were less likely to be poor when they were old?

What is your source for this?

1362
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Ethanol is driving grain prices through the roof, so jacking up unreasonable graze fees will wipe generations-old family businesses out.

From what I've heard, grazing fees are much lower on Federal land than they are on private land, so I don't understand where you get that they are "unreasonable."  How much lower should they be?

1363
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Sure, it was a guess--but it turned out to be the right guess.

Only if you accept that extremely partisan article would that be true, like I said other estimates put them in place within 3 hours and with time enough to potentially save 2 of the lives lost.

Seriati, could you please show your non-partisan source for this 3 hour estimate?

And do you know when the source testified during a Benghazi hearing?  And what was the Administration's response to this 3 hour estimate?

1364

Well there is the redacted email released that shows the Pentagon offering unspecified forces - did I miss where this turned out to be a bold-faced lie by a partisan hack?

Actually, yes, you missed it.  The Democrats released the unredacted e-mail, and it turns out that military forces referenced were the ones that were actually sent to the Libyan compound to rescue the survivors.  I told about this on the last post of this thread on the old forum.

So, yeah, it pretty well was a bold-faced lie by a partisan hack. :)

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There's several different statements of various insiders relating to forces in the region that were action ready and could have been sent to arrive with various arrival times.  Not sure how any of that would be a bold-faced lie, unless your asserting there are no American forces (including air power) anywhere in Europe, the Mediterrean, the Middle East or Northern Africa that would be kept ready to react on a short time line?

Yes, and all of them (that I heard of) would have arrived long after the action was done, and long after the servicemen that were sent had already evacuated the survivors--thus negating any "meaningful time frame."

However, if you know of a specific one that would have arrived sooner, I would love to hear about it.

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There's absolutely no way to have known real time that any force mobilization would not have arrived in time to make some sort of difference, which means lack of beginning to mobilize forces that would take even several days to arrive is not justifiable.

Unless, of course, that those in charge in the area realized that this attack would be over well before other help could arrive.  Sure, it was a guess--but it turned out to be the right guess.  Perhaps those local decision makers were better informed, more experienced, or made better judgments than partisan politicians in Washington. ;)

1365
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...it's become clear that we could have sent help in a meaningful time frame - but that the order was never given...

Whoa!  Really?  Seriati, you've got to fill me in with the details.  This is the first I've ever heard of this.

Every other time someone's said it, it has turned out to be a bold-faced lie, usually told by some partisan hack in the media to fool the hicks.  But I must have missed one.

So please let me know who the help was, where they were stationed, and how long it would have taken them to get there.  It's absolutely amazing this was kept quiet for so long.  Does the Benghazi committee know about this?

1366
If you want to hear Hillary sound presidential, have you tried one of the Democratic debates? (Not that I have... :) )

1367
General Comments / Re: Justice Scalia dead
« on: February 24, 2016, 05:34:53 PM »
Of course, to the Judicial Committee, a "centralist" would have to be someone far to the right of Scalia... :)

1368
General Comments / Re: here comes the next ice age
« on: February 24, 2016, 04:02:32 PM »
CO2 does produce warming, and historically, HAS often produced significant warming.

How much of the CO2 in the atmosphere was produced by human activities?

You might want to look here for starters.

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How much of the current warming changes were produced by CO2?

As far as I know, the only way to make a reasonable estimate of how much warming has been caused by CO2 is using the various computer models.

This article may provide more information and directions for further information.

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Actually, there are much more powerful greenhouse gasses that are overwhelmingly produced by human activities, such as SF6.

True, including good old H2O.  But CO2 stays in the atmosphere for a long, long time (at least a century), so it will affect our climate for the foreseeable future.  Most of these others gases stay for much shorter periods, so their affects are shorter lived.

Skeptical science is a good source for answers to a lot of the basic questions.

1369
General Comments / Re: here comes the next ice age
« on: February 24, 2016, 03:39:05 PM »
What does belief have to do with this?  This is a scientific question, not a matter of belief.  Proof is what is and should be persuasive.  There are indicators that AGW is occurring, they are just not at the level of proof.  I went into detail on the models to show why they are particularly misleading and often used to convince people that we have more scientific certainty than is possible.

Ah, I see, you want scientific proof.  Absolute proof that practically eliminates all other possibilities.  Proof that is so certain, so precise that we can predict with a great deal of certainty exactly what the outcome will be for any given change.

I believe your thinking of mathematics, not science. :)

Science is more about different levels of certainty.  You never have absolute certainty, absolute proof.  You have more or less certainty.  Some explanation reach a high level that they are labeled theories, but even the most hallowed theory is not considered immutable if new facts dispute it.

So asking for "proof" is unachievable.  Science doesn't "prove" anything.

But what we can do is ascertain and compare the levels of certainty.

For instance, we are very certain that higher concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere trap more heat.  So certain that practically everyone agrees with that theory.

That the Earth's atmosphere has been warming over the past century and half is also fairly certain, when you consider not only temperature readings but climate-related changes in plant species locations, animal (especially insect) ranges, glacial melting, etc.  There are far more indications of warming than of not.

And we have reliable measurements of the CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.  So that is very certain, too.

But you dispute how certain we are that CO2 is the main cause of increased temperatures.  And here is where comparing levels of certainty is useful.

We are certain that CO2 is trapping heat, which, unless the heat is dissipated, will increase temperatures.  So we are pretty much certain that some increase in the temperature is from the higher CO2 concentrations.

We very, very uncertain that increased solar insolance is causing temperature increases.  This is because there has not been a consistent increase in solar insolance for the past few decades--the measured insolance has gone up and down, without a marked trend in either direction--while temperatures have been tracking up.

So in comparing certainties, we would say that our certainty of CO2 being a cause of temperature increase is much greater than from solar variances.  In fact, we would say that we are more certain that the temperature trend is NOT caused by solar variance and that it is.

This can be applied to almost every objection by denialists to AGW.

This is why I say that denialists need to "prove" their contention that AGW is NOT happening.  Because when we look at the various levels of certainty, we are far more certain that CO2 is part of the warming than it is not.  We are far more certain that CO2 is probably the major cause of the warming than we are not.  We are far more certain that increased concentrations of CO2 will increase temperature than we are not.  Relatively, we are more certain of AGW than we are of the objections.

Have we reached a level of absolute certainty about AGW?  No, I'll agree with you there.  But the preponderance of evidence is pointing toward AGW.  So it must be taken seriously.

1370
General Comments / Re: here comes the next ice age
« on: February 23, 2016, 06:36:06 PM »
So, IOW, Seriati, there is no reason not to believe that some level of AGW is occurring, and no reason not to believe it may be as bad as the computer models indicate.

But it is not conclusive with the information we currently have.

Am I correct in believing that is your position?

1371
General Comments / Re: here comes the next ice age
« on: February 23, 2016, 04:50:08 PM »
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Wayward, this right here is where you're misapplying the logic.  Your conclusion does not lead from your axiom, which was the point of the question I highlighted.  The fact that man generated carbon has contributed to warming, does not speak to whether it has caused significant warming.  All the rest of your lengthy response falls apart in my view without bridging this gap.

OK, then answer me a couple of questions.

CO2 produces warming in the atmosphere.  How do you know it doesn't procedure "significant warming?"  And if the concentration doubles, how do you know it won't produce significant warming then?  What is your conclusive evidence of this?

Remember, it does produce warming.  How can you know it is not "significant," or won't be in the future?

1372
General Comments / Re: here comes the next ice age
« on: February 23, 2016, 03:08:35 PM »
Wayward, you're not using logic there.

Oh, no, I very much am.  ;D 

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Can you explain why we have had periods of higher atmospheric carbon and lower temperatures?

Because there are other factors than greenhouse gases that control the temperature of the Earth.

If you review the old thread, I have never denied that.  In fact, I listed a few such factors (such as solar intensity and distance from the sun).

But so what?  So in the past, other factors have overcome higher levels of CO2.  The question you have to answer is is something doing that now.

Because we all agree that CO2 is trapping more heat, and trapped heat can raise temperatures.

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Do you understand that while everyone can agree that atmospheric carbon has a warming effect, that whether the Earth is warming or cooling is controlled by far more factors than atmospheric carbon?  If for instance the Earth is heading towards a cooler climate phase all atmospheric carbon would be doing is reducing the rate of decline?

And if you can prove this, then we won't need to worry very much, will we?  But you first need to prove it...

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No one has to argue the specifics you want them to, because you haven't demonstrated that the observed effect with respect to carbon can be generalized to the atmosphere as a whole.
 

Wait a minute.  You've already agreed that CO2 is trapping heat in the Earth's atmosphere.  What more do I have to demonstrate?

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What's interesting about the six questions, is the one question that did not get asked (deliberately) on which the divergence occurs:  Has it been conclusively shown that human caused atmospheric carbon increases are the direct cause of significant warming?   The answer to which is, no.

Eh?  We have already agreed that CO2 is trapping heat.  Trapped heat causes warming unless something else absorbs or emits the heat.

CO2 concentrations are increasing yearly in our atmosphere and our oceans.  We emit gigatons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year.  We have found no other major source of CO2 that would account for this much increase.  Plus, some other studies that I won't mention now.  So we are the source of the CO2.

And, of course, the question implies that there has been significant warming.  Do you agree?

Still, even if there has been no "significant" warming so far, what happens when the concentrations reaches 450 ppm?  500 ppm?  800 ppm?

Even if it has not been "conclusively" shown that the observed warming is primarily due to humans, how about the future warming?  Because we have already agreed CO2 traps heat in the Earth's atmosphere.  So more CO2 will trap more heat.  Unless something else counteracts that.

So while the answers so far may not seem "conclusive" to you, you need to consider that the answer you are advocating is even less "conclusive."  And over time, increased CO2 will increase Earth's temperature if nothing else counteracts it.

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I get you want to flip the burden of proof to make the other side responsible for "proving" it, but that's not how it works when the solutions you potentially want would represent radical and expensive shifts in everyone's way of life.

What makes you think the atmosphere and the thermodynamics inherent in it care about the expense of our lives? ;)

And if you are so concerned about radical and expensive shifts, consider how much it will cost to remove the CO2 from the atmosphere in the future.  Controlling CO2 and bringing it back to levels we've experienced for the last 400,000 years will be far more expensive, and require more radical shifts in our lifestyle, than we would need to do now.  Remember, CO2 stays in the atmosphere for 100 years or more before being reabsorbed by natural processes.

So consider if you want to pay now, or pay more later.

1373
General Comments / Re: here comes the next ice age
« on: February 23, 2016, 11:41:18 AM »
I did note your answers in the old thread, and am not surprised that you would agree.

But it does illustrate my point, too.

We all know, and all agree, that CO2 is trapping heat.  And this trapped heat will cause the Earth to warm unless something else somehow counteracts it.

So my questions are:

If that something else exists, what is it?

How does it work?

How long and well will it work, or will it stop working sometime in the future, perhaps the near future?

And how confident are you that you are right?

Until these questions are settled, it is stupid to assume that there is such a something that will prevent global warming from occurring.

Because there may not be anything to counteract the rise in CO2.  Or it may only last a few decades.  Or it may only counteract a fraction of the warming.

This is why denialists should be working like mad on creating good climate models, to prove that something is counteracting the CO2 rise.  They are the ones that have to prove that global warming is not occurring because of CO2 rise.

Because we all know and agree that CO2 is trapping more heat.

That heat has to go somewhere or else temperatures will rise.  And temperatures have been measurably rising.

So, if it is not CO2, what is preventing the CO2 from doing it?

Deniers need to answer these questions before we should start listening to them.  Because without those answers, they are engaging in "just so" stories.

1374
General Comments / Re: here comes the next ice age
« on: February 22, 2016, 05:20:05 PM »
Seriati said:
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quote:
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No, this is something I read that Lord Monckton, a famous AGW denier, said about a conference he attended. That all of the deniers in the conference agreed that CO2 was trapping heat...and that anyone saying they did not believe it was just trying to slander the denier movement. :) I had a link to it on another thread, but I can't find my link right now (too many AGW links to choose from  :-[ ).
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Feel free to link it, I'd be happy to take a look.

Seriati, I finally found it.

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Shock news from the Heartland Institute’s Ninth International Climate Change Conference: among the 600 delegates, the consensus that Man contributes to global warming was not 97%. It was 100%...

At a conference of 600 “climate change deniers”, then, not one delegate denied that climate changes. Likewise, not one denied that we have contributed to global warming since 1950.

The article makes other points, which I don't necessarily agree with, but I think it is pretty clear that even AGW deniers don't deny that CO2 traps heat in our atmosphere.

1375
Context, Pete, context.

Hillary was chiding Senator Johnson for harping on her for not quizzing the survivors immediately after the attack to ascertain that the attack wasn't the result of a protest.  She wasn't trying to play Americans for fools.  She was trying to get Johnson back to reality, that "once we got our people rescued and out, our most immediate concern was, number one, taking care of their injuries."  Finding out what caused the attack wasn't her first priority, and, if you think about it, wasn't her job at the time.  That's what the FBI and other security agencies are for.

Read the exchange here.

1376
General Comments / Re: Pope Francis questions Trump's Christianity
« on: February 18, 2016, 04:59:44 PM »
Trump has responded with the typical diplomatic aplomb:

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“For a religious leader to question a person’s faith is disgraceful,” Mr. Trump said.

The Trump campaign also released a statement from the candidate, defending his hard-line policies on immigration and saying the pope was out of line.

“No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith,” Mr. Trump said, going on to claim that the pope was being used for political purposes by the Mexican government. “They are using the pope as a pawn and they should be ashamed of themselves for doing so, especially when so many lives are involved and when illegal immigration is so rampant.”

Mr. Trump went on to say that he would defend Christianity more aggressively than current political leaders.

“If and when the Vatican is attacked by ISIS, which as everyone knows is ISIS’ ultimate trophy, I can promise you that the pope would have only wished and prayed that Donald Trump would have been president because this would not have happened,” Mr. Trump said.

Other members of Mr. Trump’s campaign also pushed back against the pope. Dan Scavino, his social media director, posted an image of Vatican City and noted that it is surrounded by a wall.

And Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University and a supporter of Mr. Trump, said that the pope had crossed a line.

“Jesus never intended to give instructions to political leaders on how to run a country,” Mr. Falwell told CNN.

I wonder if these sentiments apply to the Religious Right, too?  ::)

1377
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I was asking if your reasoning re genetics was dispositive.

Ah, I misunderstood.  You're question was not clear.

In fact, this one isn't either.  Although sharing genes does indicate being part of a whole, genes do not prove that a cell is part of the whole.  In other words, having the same DNA shows that a cell is from a person, but not having the same DNA does not prove the cell is not from a person.

Chimeras are proof of this.  One person, two sets of DNA (perhaps more).

(I still love that Radio Lab segment (a show on NPR) that tells the tale of a woman who was genetically found to be related to her father but not her mother.  Which was strange, since her mother distinctly remembered conceiving and carrying her. ???

Turns out that her blood was not genetically related to her mother, but other parts of her were.  A true chimera.

Which is why I say biology is messy. :D)

So genetics does play a factor, but it is not definitive in determining if something is part of someone's body or not.  Other factors must be considered.

I trust this answers your question.  If not, try summarizing my argument so I know exactly which part you are referring to and if I conveyed my position correctly.

1378
General Comments / Re: Justice Scalia dead
« on: February 18, 2016, 01:00:23 PM »
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But I want Democrats to acknowledge that they were also wrong to try to filibuster when Alito was nominated in 2006, and in general when calling the GOP on obstructionism to own up to and apologize for their own obstructionism in the past.  Obama has mentioned he "regrets" the filibuster, which is a start.

I don't think it is necessarily wrong to filibuster a nominee who a significant portion of the Senate feels is unqualified.  But can anyone tell me why Obama's nominee is unqualified? ;)

The filibuster should be used as a last-ditch effort by a minority to pressure the majority in dire circumstances.  (That's why I think a filibuster should be an oral one, where Senators have to keep speaking to keep it going, not this "gentleman's agreement" that you need 60 votes or you table discussion. :D)  But McConnell's threat to use it before any nominee is named is simply obstructionism and an abuse of power.  Which is why the Democrats had to remove it as an option for some regular business.

It also should be pointed out that the Alito filibuster never materialized, and that it was called for after the Alito hearings.  Democrats didn't unilaterally vow to filibuster whoever Bush nominated.

1379
Wayward, do you think that a surrogate should have less rights to abortion than a genetic mother?

Although a surrogate does not share genetic material with the fetus, the other attributes I listed do apply.  So on a numeric scale, I suppose one could say that the surrogate has "less rights" than that of a natural mother, but I doubt this difference should affect the overall rights of the mother.  In other words, there may be less rights, but not enough to make any difference.

If the rights are equal, then how can you claim that your reasoning in is dispositive?

Depends on what you think I'm dispositiving. :)

My contention is that Pyr has a point in that the fetus is part of the mother during gestation.  So any rights and responsibilities of the mother to the fetus must take that into account.  It is not just something that is growing in her.  It is an actual part of her.  Not the same as her heart, liver and brain, but still a part.

I don't think this necessarily gives the mother the right to abort up to the day of birth, but it is a factor that must be taken into account.  The rights of the fetus do not trump the right of the mother to control her own body, which includes the fetus.

For that point I think my reasoning is dispositive.

1380
General Comments / Re: Justice Scalia dead
« on: February 17, 2016, 06:08:18 PM »
On the lighter side, just check out some of these lame excuses on why Obama shouldn't name a replacement for Scalia.  :)

1381
I find it interesting that you used the word "property" in describing the fetus, Fenring.  Because it isn't so much a piece of property, but a piece of the mother.
Wayward Son, we're specifically talking about independently viable fetuses.  They are inside the mother, but there's real basis to state they are "part" of the mother, they certainly are not required to remain a part of the mother (hence the classification of viable).
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Do you consider your liver a piece of your property?  Your heart?  Your gall bladder?  Your appendix?  I don't.  I consider them a piece of myself, which is much more than just property.
And which of those if removed from the mother and not implanted in another living being survives independently on its own?

If we were talking about pre-viable fetuses your argument would carry weight, and it does to most everyone that's weighed in on the issue.

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Of course, this is not so clear when it comes to a fetus.  Our liver, heart and gall bladder are supposed to stay with us our entire lives, while a fetus is supposed to be ejected after 9 months.  ("Ejected" not being even close to the right word, but you get my point. :))  But it is part of a woman's body until that time.  And so much more than just "property" that she can do with as she pleases.  It is part of her self.

Why is it a part of her self?  Honestly, why is a fully formed person, capable of surviving free from her body, that she expressly wants out of her body, a "part of herself" that she is entitled to kill? 

I think your entire argument is based on location, and if held to its logical extreme, would entitle a woman to have a baby killed during the birth process, if she choose.  Can you distinguish that fact pattern?  What if she's in the middle of scheduled C-section, hence there is no further physical trauma required to separate the live fetus from her body (other than lifting it out and cutting the cord), is she still able to have the doctor terminate this "part of her body"?

You're reading too much into my argument.  It is part of her body because it is in her body, because it is partly composed of her body, because it naturally grows inside her body.  It order to get it out of her body, you either have to cut her open or administer chemicals to induce her body to eject it (unless, of course, you wait until it comes out naturally).

But that does not mean that "she is entitled to kill" it under any and all circumstances.  Because it is not just another heart, liver, or brain.  It can and does grow into an independent person, and so cannot be simply considered as another organ.

But, by the same token, it cannot be considered a mere possession or something that the mother just happens to be feeding inside of her.

Both have to be considered in deciding what can and cannot be done with the fetus.

Any answer that does not acknowledge that the fetus is part of the mother is ignoring part of the problem.

1382
General Comments / Re: Justice Scalia dead
« on: February 17, 2016, 03:19:16 PM »
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That's why the death of Scalia really hurts, his primary legal philosophy (notwithstanding, Raich) was to rely on the text of the law strictly.

I got the impression that he relied on the strict text of the law when it agreed with his politic stance, otherwise not-so-much (as when he declared that corporations can have religious beliefs in Hobby Lobby).

Do you know of any of Scalia's decisions where he took a liberal position because of his strict reading of the text?

1383
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I think you are confusing 'nourished by and connected to the mother' with 'a literal part of the mother.'

I think, Fenring, that you want to have a nice, clear divide between what is part of the mother and what isn't.

Well, you can't have it. :p

Because you are dealing with biology.

Biology doesn't give nice, clean dividing lines.  Just look up the differences between sexes.  Male and female are clearly divided, except when they aren't. :)  There is male, female, and all those cases where it isn't clearly differentiated.  Biology doesn't care.

In this case, you are right and wrong.  The fetus does have a unique DNA, different from the mother's (usually).  It does have it's own brain and central nervous system (usually).  It does become a separate human being after gestation (usually).  So, yes, it is different from the mother.

But it also has half of the mother's DNA (usually).  It is connected to the mother just like any other organ or system (usually).  It triggers certain chemical changes in the mother which cause changes to her physiology (usually).  It cannot survive without the mother (usually until gestation or so).  So, no, it is not different from the mother, anymore than any organ is "different" from the mother.

So there is no confusion.  It is both 'nourished by and connected to the mother' and 'a literal part of the mother.' :)

And here's the thing.  If you consider it only "nourished by and connected to the mother," you are neglecting that it is "a literal part of the mother."  You think of it only as a thing that the mother possesses.  But it is also a thing that is part of the mother.  Not exactly like a liver or heart or brain, but not something completely different, either.  Perhaps a new category.  But a category that is in the set of "part of the mother's body."

This is why, I think, Pyr is so intent on saying the mother should have absolute control over the fetus as she does over all other parts of her body.  Because even though it is a separate person being developed, it is part of her body during gestation.  And denying that it is denies both reality and the mother's control over her own body.

1384
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Since Social Justice Warriors have colonized and appropriated the Christian holiday of Valentine's Day into "V Day"...

You make is sound like its something odd or terrible to "colonize and appropriate" a Christian holiday.

Appropriating holidays is a long-standing tradition.  Christmas used to be solemn holiday of reflection of what we did wrong over the year, and of the poor begging at the doors of the rich.  Now its some happy day of gift-giving and celebration, because it was "colonized and appropriated" by some namby-pambys who don't appreciate the seriousness of life and eternity.

And do you think the Feast of Saint Valentine was always about love and chocolates and Hallmark cards?  Your ancestors would be horrified at what it's become!  Changing the name to "V Day" is the least of the sacrilege...

In fact Christmas and Easter themselves are appropriated holidays, colonized by the Christians.  Originally they were solstice and fertility festivals, but Christians early on used them as propaganda to convert the heathens, changing their significance to days supposedly to celebrate the birth of Jesus and his resurrection.  The last people who should criticize that holidays were "appropriated" are Christians!  ::)

People are going to celebrate holidays the way they want to, whether they were originally Christian, pagan, or something made up by a lady who thought mothers should get more recognition than they do.  And there's nothing you can do about it.  So get used to it.  You just sound silly getting outraged over something that's been going on for millennium. :P

1385
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2) That the fetus should legally be considered as a piece of the mother's property and not as a person until the moment of its birth.

I find it interesting that you used the word "property" in describing the fetus, Fenring.  Because it isn't so much a piece of property, but a piece of the mother.

Do you consider your liver a piece of your property?  Your heart?  Your gall bladder?  Your appendix?  I don't.  I consider them a piece of myself, which is much more than just property.

Property can be sold, taken, traded, replaced.  I can't trade myself.  I can't replace myself.  Sure, we can do some of those things with parts of ourselves (brains are excluded! ;)), but they are still parts that are far more intimate than just "property."

Which is think is Pyr's point.  Control of our bodies is control of our very selves, our deepest selves.  Telling someone that they do not have control of their bodies is denying them control of their most basic self.  That is more control than we demand of incarcerated murders, rapists and traitors!

Of course, this is not so clear when it comes to a fetus.  Our liver, heart and gall bladder are supposed to stay with us our entire lives, while a fetus is supposed to be ejected after 9 months.  ("Ejected" not being even close to the right word, but you get my point. :))  But it is part of a woman's body until that time.  And so much more than just "property" that she can do with as she pleases.  It is part of her self.

1386
General Comments / Re: A little perspective
« on: February 17, 2016, 11:21:47 AM »
It should also be noted that there are far more programs for mental health care and counseling for opiate addiction than there are for violence addiction, especially gun-violence addiction. ;)

So the larger problem is being address more than the smaller one.

1387
General Comments / Re: Justice Scalia dead
« on: February 17, 2016, 11:13:41 AM »
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There's nothing saying there should be nine members.  They were originally set at five.  They were at one time set at eight.

The problem with having an even number of justices is the likely scenario of a deadlocked Court.

There are already seven cases on the docket that will likely end up in a tie, on aspects of Obamacare and contraception, union rights, redistricting, and drunk driving.  An affirmative action case will likely have a 4-3 reversal. 

Without a tie-breaker, the Court will not function as well as it should.

1388
Oh, yeah, Cruz is non-establishment.  It's a toss-up whether the Democrats or Republicans hate him more.  ;D  Apparently because he paints every Republican as "a corrupt phony and himself as the only honest man."

Just check out this analysis of the introduction to his autobiography.

1389
I still gotta ask, what's with Jim Gilmore?

He received fewer votes yesterday than Ron Paul, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum.  Isn't there a message in there somewhere?  ;)

1390
Sadly, to western lefties, the idea of colonization by non-European is a contradiction in terms...

Could you show an instance where Lefties consider the idea of colonization by non-Europeans a contradiction in terms?  I have yet to hear that idea.  In fact, I would think the issue of Tibetan Independence utterly disproves that.

Or are you under the impression that lack of addressing all the world's woes means that Western Lefties don't really care?

1391
the pro life movement does not rely on facts nor need them

I must assume that you don't know any intelligent pro-life people to say such a thing. More likely you hear facts in the echo chamber of your side? It's one thing to say the other side is mistaken, or that they are missing some key fact that you think you have. But to otherwise denigrate the opposition in an issue as controversial as this one shows you haven't been listening well enough.

I will admit to succumbing to the Loudest Voices Syndrome, and that I see as the "pro life movement" those who protest the loudest and the most obnoxiously.

Could you direct me to a site where they do discuss abortion without resorting to hyperbole and distortion of the facts?  Where do you go to get reliable information from the pro-life movement?

1392
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It would be supercilious to the point of dishonest to demand that I provide proof prior to investigation.

Of course, it is equally supercilious to the point of dishonesty to demand legislation on a problem prior to investigation to prove there is a problem.  Or do you believe in legislating on moot issues?  ;)

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Why do you give a *censored* if there are only a couple dozen cases of sex or race selective abortion?  Why give the pro lifers even that much ammo?  How many decades do we have to make elections about abortion?

This is a very weak argument, because the pro life movement does not rely on facts nor need them.  Rumor and innuendo are sufficient.  Just take the "abortion pill."  It has been shown that the pill does not actually cause abortions, but that does not stop the movement from using it as an example of abortions, even for Supreme Court cases (like the Hobby Lobby case, IIRC).  We have seen it happen time and again.

So if you are truly concerned with not giving pro lifers ammo, you should be ashamed of yourself, because you just did.  By simply asking the question, the pro life movement will take it as being proof that hundreds of abortions are being performed for sex and race selection every year.  And any results of an investigation will be dismissed.

This is not to say I am against any or all investigations about abortions.  I believe that facts are always useful and should never be avoided.  But if you are arguing that we should start an investigation so as not to give pro lifers ammo, well, it's useless, because they don't need facts for their ammo, nor will facts dissuade them from what they already believe.

1393
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So it's possible she may again be defeated by upstart Sanders. Assuming he doesn't shoot himself with his off hand or have his plane go down, or have some unprecedented and sudden heart attack while in confinement.

While you may be worried about Sanders, perhaps we should be worried about Donald Trump:o  ;)

1394
General Comments / Re: Magic Coin Theory
« on: February 03, 2016, 11:12:56 AM »
And, once again, the "magic" comes from the media, and not from what actually happened. :(

Apparently, the "Miracle Six" coins tosses (which, at 1/64, ain't that rare :) ) didn't even really exist.  As NPR reports:

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In fact, there were at least a dozen tiebreakers — and "Sen. Sanders won at least a handful," an Iowa Democratic Party official told NPR.

So it more like Hillary won around 7/12 or so. Much less improbable.  But that didn't keep the headline writers from going over the top.

And the kicker is that it really didn't matter because the delegate reported were only rough estimates.

As NPR explains:

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Iowa has a multistep process for picking delegates. Monday night was just Step 1. Here's how it works:

1. There were 1,683 precinct caucuses on Iowa caucus night.

2. Those precinct caucuses elected 11,065 delegates to the county conventions, which take place March 12.

3. That universe of 11,065 delegates is whittled down to 1,406 who will attend congressional district (April 30) and state conventions (June 18).

4. And here's the root of what's causing all the confusion: The breakdown of those 11,065 is not reported on caucus night.

5. What IS reported, what Clinton's 49.9 to 49.6 percent tracing-paper-thin lead is based on, is "state delegate equivalents."

6. Those are ESTIMATES of how many of those 11,065 will attend the congressional district and state conventions.

So ... when those coin tosses are happening, they are elected delegates in that larger universe.

That means, for Clinton to have picked up the four delegates, she would have had to have won not six in a row, but more like 47.

So when Clinton picked up 6 more delegates than Sanders, she got 6 more of the 11,065 delegates--but the split of those 11,065 was never reported.  Only the estimate of how those 11,065 would be split into the 1,406 next month.  So each of those 6 "magic" delegates was worth only about 0.127 of an actual delegate.  ::)

Nothing magical or untoward happened that night.  It was a tie between Hillary and Bernie.  A straight-up, statistical tie.  But that was a boring story for the media, so we got the "magic six" coin tossed.  Which meant absolutely nothing.

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Of course God's a Democrat, but I resent your implication that He's an election cheat.

God doesn't cheat.  He decides how every coin toss goes.  To paraphrase Star Trek, Sanders didn't stand a chance, because God raided the game. :D

1395
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...seems to have duped a mob of abortion fans into supporting their newest offensive against the first amendment.

Wow!  Now the Grand Jury is "a mob of abortion fans?"  And I suppose the DA who was in charge, who is on record as being anti-abortion, is also a dupe?  Or is she the duper? ::)

Where do you get this stuff?

1396
General Comments / Re: Magic Coin Theory
« on: February 02, 2016, 06:47:45 PM »
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If you exclude the coin toss "votes" Bernie did take two more than Hillary.  That's a narrow margin but not a "dead heat."  Which means simply that the Democratic party isn't making this a fair fight for Sanders.

You make it sound like the Democratic Party had some say on how those coins fell.  Extremely unlikely.  More likely is that Hillary got lucky and Bernie unlucky.

Since it all came down to pure, unadulterated chance (a coin toss) on who got those last few delegates, I would call that a "dead heat."  Neither won on merit, but rather pure luck. :)

OTOH, if you're a religious man, perhaps Someone did have a say in how those coins landed.  (Although I had no idea He was part of the Democratic Party. ;))

1397
I was just looking at the raw numbers from Iowa.

Can anyone explain why Jim Gilmore is still in the race?  :o

1398
General Comments / Re: Magic Coin Theory
« on: February 02, 2016, 04:49:57 PM »
Any politician, Democrat or Republican, that claims he or she "won" the Iowa caucuses is blowing smoke.  Nothing was decided in this race.

Clinton and Sanders tied.  Yeah, Clinton took a couple of more delegates than Sanders, but it was by sheer luck of the coin tosses.  But even if Sanders took a couple more, it still would have been a tie.  There was no significant difference between the two counts this early in the national race.

And the Republican "winner" took only 28% of the votes.  The second and third place "winners" took just short of 25%.  Big deal.  What kind of "winner" can muster only a quarter of the votes?  ::)

Bernie needed a fairly big victory for a chance of beating Hillary.  He didn't get it.  They tied.  And a couple of delegates more wouldn't have changed that result.  He's in trouble.

And until quite a few more contenders bow out like Huckabee, we won't even know what the real race is for the Republicans.  Right now, nobody is winning.  It's still just as up in the air as it was two months ago.

1399
Remember, buying fetal tissue is only a misdemeanor and really has nothing to do with the felony charge.

The felony is based on using government ID from another state with intent to do harm.

So any prosecution will depend on what is considered "harm."

If "harm" only means stealing money or physical injury, they should get off easy.

But if "harm" can also mean slander, then they could be in big trouble.

But don't fixate on whether they actually meant to buy fetal tissue.  Consider whether they meant to do harm to Planned Parenthood.

1400
It may go deeper than that.  It could be a sign of alpha-male dominance, of showing that Trump can and will dominate his opponents, even the press.  He is the invincible hero, the unbeatable winner.  Josh Marshall called it (somewhat rudely), his "bitch slap theory of politics."

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When I first wrote about this a dozen years ago I called it the "bitch slap theory of politics." I'm no longer comfortable using that phrase. But I do think the heavily gendered, violent nature of that phrase is one of the only ways to really capture the nature of what's happening in these dramas.

Take Trump's evisceration of Jeb Bush.

Trump's comment about Jeb's being "weak", "low energy", "pitiful" ... these are demeaning and denigrating phrases. They seem frankly gross, with an emotional tenor we'd expect from street toughs or frat boys trash talking each other. It's raw and primal and all about dominating by denigrating. But what has really hurt Bush is not so much that Trump is calling him names. It's that Trump has used these attacks to demonstrate that Jeb is unable or unwilling to defend himself. Trump hits him and Jeb takes it. His responses are hapless and weak and generally meaningless. You probably barely remember them. The impact of this is not tied to Trump calling Bush "weak." Trump is engineering encounters that show that Bush is weak.

In an election dominated by national security, this kind of demonstration of power and dominance has a profound impact. That is why the 'Swift Boat' attacks in the 2004 presidential election were so devastating. Whether anybody really believed all these slurs and claims about John Kerry wasn't really the point. What was deadly was his seeming inability to defend himself...

Trump doesn't apologize. He hurts people and they go away. He says things that would kill a political mortal (ban members of an entire religion from entering the country) and yet he doesn't get hurt. Virtually everything Trump has done over the last six months, whether it's a policy proposal or personal attack, has driven home this basic point: Trump is strong. He does things other people can't.

This is why Trump has so shaken up and so dominated the GOP primary cycle, at least thus far. As I've said, this kind of dominance symbolism is pervasive in GOP politics. It's not new with Trump at all. Most successful Republican politicians speak this language. And yet somehow for most it is nonetheless a second language. But it's Trump's native language. I still believe it's rooted in the mix of the hyper-aggressive New York real estate world, his decades of immersion in the city's febrile tabloid culture and just being, at the most basic level, a bully. Wherever it comes from, he seems to intuitively get that for this constituency and at this moment just demonstrating that he gets his way, always, is all that really matters. Policy details, protecting the candidate through careful press releases and structured media opportunities ... none of that matters. Trump doesn't kiss babies. Babies kiss him. He doesn't have a billionaire backer; he is a billionaire. Trump doesn't ask for support. He just tells you that you need to stop being a loser and get on board.

After about an hour or so, I understand the debate moved past Trump and got down to actual policy questions.  But I think this is part of Trump's attraction to his supporters.  He's the Man.  He dominates everyone around him, even Fox News.  He has the power, and power attracts.

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